Our Ethics

Everybody can do something for the environment, including a supplier of fine art materials. To us, sustainability means safeguarding the future, being socially responsible and making our eco-footprint as small as possible.

It’s about taking a lead in adopting best practices in our industry. And it’s about having the conviction to make sound, future-oriented choices at all levels. We realise that we are on a journey. But each step leads us towards the goal of sustainability. Here are some of the steps we have taken so far.

Standing up for what we believe in

Rather than simply using water and releasing it into drains, we process it and reuse it. At our brushmaking plant in Lowestoft in the UK we have introduced a rainwater collection system that provides a free, alternative source of water for the production process and enables us to cut freshwater consumption.

In our colour factories we have lowered environmental impact by installing technology that treats water effluent in closed-loop systems and reuses it throughout the plant, including to clean machinery.

Cadmium care

A major priority is reducing hazardous chemical use – a key challenge for all paint manufacturers. One area where we are working especially hard is cadmium, a heavy metal that when added to artists’ paint creates an intrinsic quality that many artists value and that is currently hard to replicate artificially.

Most of our lower tier ranges (e.g. Cotman Watercolours) do not have cadmium colours, thus reducing the heavy metals that could potentially be released into the environment. For our higher tier ranges (e.g. Professional Watercolours) we offer cadmium-free colours as an alternative to cadmium colours, as cadmium-free colours have the same performance as their cadmium equivalents without containing cadmium.

Leading the way

Our Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colour does not use traditional solvents, so you can clean up and wash brushes with water; an excellent eco-friendly choice if you paint with oil colour.

Likewise, Artisan Varnish Remover safely removes Artisan varnishes from paintings for cleaning and re-varnishing.